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Why Certification Matters – Nolan Burris Shares His Thoughts
Winning Back Web Surfers
Winning Back Web Surfers
First the bad news: you’ll never really “beat” the Internet at its game. It’s not going away and people will still use it to buy travel. But, you can “win back” web surfers by playing a completely different game that websites don’t even want to play. Your real challenge is to help travelers understand which game they are really playing.
1. Stop Chasing The Lowest Price
This is such a bad habit. The moment a client or prospect says “I found a great price on www.cheaptraveljunk.com…” the typical agent is fast and furious on the keyboard trying to find it. All that does is reinforce that price is the only thing that matters.
You’ll get to the price eventually; just don’t start there. Try this instead: “…wow, that is a great price. But, it’s no bargain if you end up hating the resort. Why don’t we start with figuring out what designing the perfect trip for you, then find the best price for that?”
2. Stop Thinking “Bookings” – Start Thinking “Consultations”
A “booking” means little more than a few mouse clicks to the uneducated traveller. They don’t come to you for a booking. Surveys show they come to you primarily for advice. Use the right language and you’ll begin to differentiate yourself from websites. Websites CANNOT consult.
3. Scare Them To Death, But Don’t Be Defensive
Let’s face it; there are some great deals to be found online. There are also some horrific rip- offs. So, tell them the truth but defensive or go out of your way to prove your point. Try this instead: “…I’ve seen some incredible deals online. But, there is always a reason something is cheaper. Sometimes it’s a good reason, and sometimes it’s a very bad reason that you won’t know about until you get there and it’s too late. If it’s a legitimate deal that won’t rip you off, I can usually get it for you too. If you still want to risk it, just PLEASE buy lots of travel insurance.”
4. Tell The Whole Truth
Travel agents can be so focused on “the booking” that they forget all that they really do for their clients. So tell them! “…There are some amazing deals online for people who don’t need the help or support of a professional and don’t mind taking a risk. But, if you’re looking for advice, expertise, support before during and after the trip and especially our supplier connections if something should ever wrong, well – that’s what we’re here for. Think of us as “peace of mind and protection” insurance.”
5. Stop Being Free
Every time you sell a trip without charging a professional fee (on top of the commission), you are delivering the message that you don’t see your service as valuable. Commission pays you for all the great things you do for your supplier partners. Fees are for all the wonderful things you do for your clients. If you don’t think it’s worth it, neither will they. If you really are more than just another way to get a cheap booking, put a price on it and prove it!
by Nolan Burris, President and Chief Visioneer, Future Proof Travel Solutions